Why Do People Leave Reviews?

Sarah Barcatta

In a word where social media and influencers have the power to persuade mass public opinion, online reviews have become increasingly important to businesses. Leaving reviews is now an integral part of the buying experience for many consumers and as a result brands are placing a higher priority on customer service. We all know that consumers like to read reviews to help them with their buying decisions, but what compels them to write a review? It turns out there are quite a few reasons, and we’re not talking about the elephant in the room – which is just that they had a bad experience and need to vent.

A Hobby Or Career

People like to be heard, and with the recent increase in video reviews, they also like to be seen. Sometimes, people review in a particular niche because they love that particular topic, product or service. More and more people are leaving video reviews on platforms such as YouTube, where many people have now become celebrities for reviewing certain products. An example of this is YouTube sensation Ryan, the 7-year old who makes over $20 million a year from reviewing toys. With the attraction people have with fame, being a reviewer is now a legitimate career, whether stumbled upon accidentally or crafted with intention.

As A Form Of Expression

Leaving a review is a simple and easy way for consumers to express themselves and have their opinions heard by the business owner. The internet has given anyone and everyone a platform to vent their frustration after an underwhelming experience, or to praise a brand for surpassing expectations. It’s an empowering feeling for consumers to know that their reviews can make or break a business. By placing brands on a pedestal or throwing them under the bus, online reviews can impact a businesses bottom line. If an experience strikes an emotional chord with a customer, both good and bad, they are more likely to leave a review. 

Business man with happy smiling and sad unhappy cardboard paper smiley face emoticon. Rating and giving review about customer satisfaction or team spirit in company.

To Help Fellow Buyers 

One of the main reasons consumers leave reviews is to help their peers make better purchasing decisions. If a consumer has a terrible experience with a brand, they want to let others know about it so they can avoid making the same mistakes. Vice versa if they have a fantastic interaction with a brand, they want others to know about it, while at the same time rewarding the brand for their service with a glowing review that may bring them more business. Sharing your buying experiences can make it easier for others to make more informed choices. In doing so, many consumers feel a sense of purpose and pride after providing a “public service” to their fellow shoppers. 

Showcase Industry Knowledge

The reality is that leaving a review serves as a means for people to showcase their expertise, by giving them a platform to be acknowledged by their peers. Reviews give people the chance to show people their knowledge in a particular field. Whether it be food, books or movies – some people want to be seen as a domain expert and reviews provide them a way to achieve this. People feel a sense of satisfaction in knowing they’ve potentially helped others with their knowledge by steering them in the right direction with an informed & objective cons versus pros analysis of a product or service. You can find whole tech review forums where indsutry professionals or specialists from all parts of the world come together to rate products through their own knowledge filter. For example, your average person might review the latest phone based on user interface, but an expert might delve deeper into the graphics and CPU updates as well.

To Help Brands Improve

In addition to helping out their peers, consumers also surprisingly seek to help businesses improve. If customers leave a negative review, the best brands will act on this accordingly. In a world where the customer is at the centre of everything, businesses must strive to provide the best customer experience possible. Businesses need to look at the positives of receiving a negative review – it’s an opportunity for them to improve. Smart business owners will take feedback and comments on board and use it to make the appropriate changes to their business. Many consumers hope that businesses will act upon their feedback and make the recommended improvements so that their business can do better. You’ll get this vibe from a reviewer who maybe has some grievances with the product but will compliment the customer service – they’re out to give some legitimate constructive criticism.  You can see these types of reviewers in the mid-tier 3-star reviews that both have constructive criticism and a little bit of praise.


From venting ones frustrations to wanting to give back to the community, there are many reasons why consumers write reviews and it shows no signs of slowing down. Customers have increasingly high expectations of the brands they interact with, which is why customer experience is fast becoming the number one priority for businesses across all industries. Reviews help ensure the best businesses are rewarded for their efforts and can force the underperforming ones to step up their game. The power is in the hands of the consumer, and it’s up to businesses to meet their expectations or feel the wrath of another scathing review.